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Pine Ridge Students Picture A Hopeful Future

December 14, 2012, 6:01 PM by Derek Olson

Pine Ridge Students Picture A Hopeful Future

Students on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation were asked to picture a hopeful future to help raise suicide awareness and the results are on display in Rapid City.

Artwork can evoke many different emotions. But hope is the focus of a new exhibit at the Dahl Arts Museum that started as a class project.

"We do a public service campaign each year, and last year we decided to do something different and work with a college class," Black Hills Advertising Federation Vice President Karissa Eifert said.

Last spring, the organization began working with business students at Oglala Lakota College in Pine Ridge to help give them some real-world experience.

"They decided on suicide prevention among the youth.  It's the biggest thing they're all concerned about and it's the biggest thing they wanted to see change," Eiffert said.

"That's pretty cool that we all came together with the same focus, you know?" OLC business student Danielle Griffith said.

The class gave 200 disposable cameras to fourth through eighth grade students on the reservation. Their assignment was to take pictures of things that give them hope.

"You wouldn't believe what the kind of stuff that they go through at such a young age.  It's stuff that's unheard of around here that you wouldn't even think a kid would witness," Griffith said.

"They don't need a reminder of that side of it.  What they need a reminder of is what there is to live for," Eiffert said.

The young photographers took hundreds of pictures that have been used in public service announcements on the reservation, and are now on display at the Dahl Arts Museum.

"They have the little things in life that make them happy, so you get to see it from their eyes," Griffith said.

The exhibit at Dahl Arts Center in Rapid City is free. It will be on display through the end of the year, then it will tour the state.

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